Social Question

zensky's avatar

Is there a soul and where does it go?

Asked by zensky (13288 points ) January 14th, 2013

I checked – it hasn’t been asked exactly like this and not for a while in any event.

I have had two people I know pass on in the last two weeks.

They were both definitely people with soul, or with a soul or soulful.

Not that language that began thousands of years ago ever had a problem to be ambiguous about something ike religion, tradition or belief, eh?

In any event – take a shot in the dark, take a stab at it if you will; can this be a definitive soul vs. soulless thread and ultimately put to rest: is there a fucking soul, or not, for heaven’s sake?! .

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

28 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

In my personal belief, the spirit of a person becomes at one with the universal force/spirit/higher power.

This thread will not decide anything, just allow people to express their personal beliefs.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think it’s Scandanavian, and I think it was here a while ago. But someone has to open the window when the person dies so their spirit/soul can go out through the window.

burntbonez's avatar

The soul is an abstract thing, and as such, it lasts as long as there is anyone to remember it.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

According to my beliefs, every human being has a soul. When you die it can only go one of two places…

That’s my answer. PLEASE, people, for the love of all that is holy, do NOT turn @zensky‘s thread into another bashing session.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Yeah guys, be gentle.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I think the soul is a metaphor for how we conceive of a specific human being. It’s a combination of their personality and spirit and physical being. It exists as long as that person is alive, and it changes over the course of their life.

Since the concept of soul is something other people have about us, or we have about other people, it survives their death. Like @burntbonez said, it keeps on going as long there is someone around to remember the deceased.

I’m not sure if it matters what people believe the soul is. Functionally, I think my description describes how people use the concept when discussing others. It is the idea of the essence of a person, whether or not there is a literal essence in existence.

Mariah's avatar

I don’t like believing what I do, but I can’t just change it. I think our personalities are manifestations of our brain activity. I think when that stops, everything goes away.

glacial's avatar

No, I don’t believe there is a soul, or any conscious or unconscious piece of a deceased person that persists beyond death. I understand why people would want to believe that, but wishing does not make it so. All the more reason to cherish people we love while they are here, and remember them well when they are gone.

kitszu's avatar

@zensky I’m sorry for your loss. (Feel stupid saying it but I’d feel rude if I didn’t)

Personally? I’m a big fan of the idea a reincarnation (probably because I don’t believe in a ‘higher power’, so I’m pretty much screwed ‘afterlife’ wise without it, lol).

So unless they’ve changed their minds, physics says energy can not be created or destroyed, only transformed.

I won’t lie, I am a fan of the whole ‘circle of life’ thing (the lion eats the antelope and when it dies it decomposes, becomes part of the earth that grows the grass that the antelope eats etc.).

But consciousness? Is it just another form of energy or is there something different about this particular kind of energy? Then you have to ask…what level of consciousness separates one animal from another?

Both dolphines and elephants exhibit types of awareness that were previously thought to be confined to human beings. What about insects like ants or bees?

Given this ‘logic’, it’s not entirely impossible that I could be reincarnated as a duck (drawing from hindu, not complete insanity;)) I just want to know if I get to ‘direct’ the form the energy takes or if I might actually end up getting stuck as a rock for the rest of my sentient existance.

kitszu's avatar

@zenvelo “In my personal belief, the spirit of a person becomes at one with the universal force/spirit/higher power.”<= That’s very Taoist.

kitszu's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Reese’s Cup as a tip? (That was the best tip anyone ever gave me anyway, no joke, lol) :)

kitszu's avatar

@Mariah I feel you. I actually used to believe in something. Genuinely believing in nothing sucks though.

Truth be told, I don’t think what we believe matters or whether it really matters if there really is anything after.

The reason we ask the question over and over and involves ourselves in endless debates or believe whatever it is that we believe, is because most of our brains would spontaneously combust knowing that once our brains shut down, we cease to exist in any meaningful (to us) way.

I don’t know what I actually think anymore. I don’t really believe either way (soul/no soul, afterlife or no afterlife, etc). It’s just an interesting/inspiring question to kick around. Because really, who has a logic based theory (not knocking faith based beliefs) and actually thinks they have the answer?

mazingerz88's avatar

I suddenly get the feeling that for this board to finally solve the mystery of whether souls exist or not, each and every posts should have the word “fuck” in it. : )

kitszu's avatar

@glacial And that’s the otherside to what I said about why the majority of human beings need to believe in something when it comes to death.

How do you not go insane if you loose someone important to you? How do you not go insane when the thought goes through your mind that one day you will loose someone you love?

kitszu's avatar

I’m on board with that @mazingerz88

glacial's avatar

@kitszu I have lost people who are important to me, and I am not insane. Yes, it is hard to say goodbye, but we are mortal; that is something each of us must accept. I cannot decide to believe in an afterlife, simply because it makes me feel better. What kind of belief would that be?

kitszu's avatar

@glacial A very irrational one, lol.

I did put that poorly though. I just meant, I think the idea of non-existence messes with peoples heads.

Shippy's avatar

Souls fly off to the place you believe in.

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

Of course souls are real. Hillary Clinton would never demand something that wasn’t real.

Symbeline's avatar

A soul to me is one’s recognized sense of self, like being conscious of being an individual. Emotions and perception can be damn confusing, and it’s pretty convenient to render certain things to simplicity. That said I don’t believe the soul is something separate that goes off somewhere when the vessel expires. Souls sound like ghosts to me.
We are attached to ourselves as we know ourselves, and it’s not too hard to imagine that our essence could be segmented and fly off into the wind to somewhere better, but I just don’t believe that happens. Often I think that things like soul or mind or heart are attributed to things we don’t always understand, or can’t put into words.
And I don’t understand them either, just throwing what comes first, out of the black.

Sunny2's avatar

I think the soul is simply the energy of life. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, so when you die, your energy changes form, but doesn’t die.
The spirit of a person could also be considered to be the soul, and as long as someone living remembers that person, his/her spirit doesn’t die either. So remember your friends who die and keep them alive as long as you like. They will be with you in spirit.
My condolences, zensky.

ucme's avatar

Ah…souls, I don’t think anyone will ever get to the bottom of this.

kitszu's avatar

@Shippy Yeah, but what happens if you and your soul have a difference of opinion?

What if my soul wants to reincarnated as a duck but I want to be reincarnated as wolf, or maybe I just want to hang out in Purgatory for a little while and think about it? What then?

Shippy's avatar

@kitszu Then you’ll just have to sit in a pond and quack

kitszu's avatar

Lol, or maybe I can have a pond in purgatory that I can sit in and howl until we figure it out?

Pachy's avatar

@wundayatta, beautifully put. I believe the same thing. I’ve always believed there’s no heaven or hell—only how we are remembered. Gibes nicely with your belief about what soul is.

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